March 31, 2020 – New measures by governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
In the exceptional circumstances of the current health emergency, here is an update on recent decisions by federal and provincial public authorities in connection with the coronavirus pandemic.
The Québec government reminds the public that the instructions remain the same: no outings unless absolutely necessary, keep a distance of two metres when leaving the house, and wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap when you get home. In the face of COVID-19, compliance with these instructions saves lives.
The rate of infection has continued to grow in Canada and in Québec, where numbers represent almost half of infected cases in the country. The good news is that there are fewer cases in intensive care than expected.
Protective medical equipment
Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau announced agreements with Canadian companies for the production and supply of medical equipment. In addition, an investment of $2 billion has been announced for the purchase of medical equipment such as masks, screening kits, hand sanitizer and swabs.
Premier of Québec François Legault stated that the supply of protective medical equipment is the highest priority, in particular masks, but also gloves and gowns. For some equipment, supplies are starting to run out. Orders are in progress and should arrive in the coming days.
He recalled that the current situation with regard to supplying protective medical equipment is a global issue, and that more than ever, masks should only be used when absolutely necessary. Québec companies are involved in manufacturing this medical equipment and should produce and deliver it within a few weeks. Other companies supply their own equipment to hospitals.
Health and Social Services Minister Danielle McCann announced that N95 masks can and are being disinfected for reuse. The reason material is becoming more rare is that we have been using it much more: we have used a year’s supply in four weeks.
People living alone
Mr. Legault is asking everyone who does not live alone to call a person who does to provide some comfort. If everyone calls someone who lives alone, it will help many Quebecers.
Minister McCann stated that people who are experiencing anxiety or psychological distress can contact their local community health centre (CLSC) to speak to a psychologist. The crisis has sparked new ways of doing things.
“[Translation] With telework and video consultations, people will receive the services they need. The health network is being transformed on several levels to benefit the population.”
Participation in research
The Prime Minister thanked researchers working on COVID-19 and invited those who have it to collaborate with cardiologist and researcher Jean-ClaudeTardif, from the Montréal Heart Institute, whose contact details will be posted on the government website.
“[Translation] He needs thousands of participants for his life-saving research study. What he is doing looks very promising.”
As he has become accustomed to doing since the beginning of the crisis, Mr. Legault dedicated his thanks today to scientific researchers, whose work is essential in developing both medication and a vaccine against the COVID-19 coronavirus.